Is BeReal Safe for Kids?

Words by
Jackie Baucom

MAR 13, 2024

Is BeReal Safe for Kids?

The app has been downloaded over 100 million times since its launch in 2022, and has 23 million daily active users as of 2024. 

But is this app any different from other social media platforms? Or is it feeding Gen Z’s smartphone addiction? 

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a simple photo sharing app that asks users to take genuine photos every day at different times.

Once-a-day randomly, worldwide users are notified simultaneously to snap a photo within two minutes. A two-image collage is then captured from the front and back cameras to show each user’s location and focus.

BeReal won’t make you famous. If you want to become an influencer, you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.

—BeReal App

The app’s layout is simple with a page for ‘My Friends’ posts (unlimited contacts chosen by the user — one post per day) and a ‘Discovery’ page (strangers who choose to share their posts with the public). In order to see any pictures, you must post that day.

How Does BeReal Compare to Other Social Media Apps?

BeReal has been around for a short time, but it has already made its mark, winning the iPhone App of the Year in 2022. The app was initially much different than other social media apps, but with each update and new feature it’s begun to look more and more like all the other platforms.

Let’s compare BeReal and other social media apps. How are they similar? How are they different? 

Social media risks

Although BeReal encourages authenticity, it is still social media. While the two-minute window feature motivates users to share real-life moments, the pressure to perform can create anxiety for kids.

concerned girl looking at her phone

Having only that moment in which to post is not benign; it reinforces poor digital citizenship in numerous ways. 

Users feel a need to have their device on them at all times. Furthermore, when alerted, regardless of the face-to-face interaction happening, users are compelled to drop everything and capture the moment.

Be Present or BeReal?

Let’s explore the differences between being present with real, in-person connections and the BeReal app. 

Be Present
  1. No harmful side effects

  2. Unlimited time to converse and share information

  3. Encourages behaviors that contribute to digital citizenship

  4. Kids chat in-person or in real life without needing a screen or using limited communications like text

  5. Kids aren’t distracted on a daily basis and feel calm when interacting with others

  6. Kids are more cautious communicating with strangers face to face, and can gauge intentions and body language better
  1. Social media risks

  2. A limited 2-minute window to share real-life moments that may create feelings of anxiety and stress

  3. Discourages digital citizenship

  4. Users feel a need to have their device on them at all times

  5. Users become distracted by random posting notifications and may feel pressured to share on the app, interrupting real life

  6. Strangers can lie about their identity and there are risks of digital grooming

Encourages addiction

Gen Z, the primary customer of BeReal, is known for having a smartphone addiction. One study found that nearly 60% of this generation are unable to go more than 4 hours without their phones before feeling uncomfortable and anxious.

BeReal’s spontaneous daily prompt encourages and relies on this addiction.

BeReal Discovery Page

Similar to other social media platforms, BeReal’s Discovery page encourages users to scroll through strangers’ posts and connect with them.

Behind the Scenes (BTS)

A new feature released at the end of 2023 is BTS. This feature lets users share the moments leading up to capturing a BeReal photo — similar to Apple’s live photos. The recording begins as soon as the camera screen is opened.

RealPeople & RealBrands

Released in February of 2024, this new feature allows users to add celebrities and brands to their list of connections. RealPeople & RealBrands post at the same time as everyone else, and offer an authentic glimpse behind the brands and fame.

teens smiling looking at their phones

Adding celebrities and brands is optional, and can be completely ignored if the goal is to just to share with friends.


RealGroups is another recent feature. Users can now create groups and add friends to it. A group notification can be set for a private BeReal moment to be shared with just the group. These messages are not end-to-end encrypted, meaning the messages can potentially be accessed by BeReal or a third party.


Friends can now tag each other in posts, and reshare them without it counting towards their daily BeReal posts.

Bonus BeReal

The app was initially beloved because it only allowed users to post once a day. There was only one post from each friend, making it a quick way to catch up and go on with the day. But in April 2023, the Bonus BeReal feature was released, allowing users to post one or two additional pictures per day.

How Does BeReal Make Money?

BeReal doesn’t have ads, and its terms prohibit advertising or commercial use. So how is the app making money? It’s not —not yet. 

BeReal stays afloat with investor money and is exploring ways to monetize the app in the future. There are reports that the app may add paid features in the next year.

stacked coins under a magnifying glass

In the Terms of Use, it states that collected personal data may be subject to data processing activities. This means that user data may ultimately be sold to advertisers for targeted ads.

When an app is free, the user is the product, so we can assume your child’s data will likely be sold at some point.

BeReal Dangers and Risks

On the surface, this app seems to be a great way to allow kids to use social media safely. Although BeReal boasts that it won’t waste users’ time, there are significant threats once inside the app.

The Discovery page

Strangers can find your kids. The Discovery page is filled with random people who choose to share a photo with the public. Some even choose to share their general locations. 

Although you can’t comment on a stranger’s post, kids can click on a stranger’s name and add them as a friend. If the friend invite is accepted, these strangers are able to see the kids’ photos and communicate with each other in the comments (BeReal doesn’t have direct messaging). 

examples of predators messaging on BeReal

Often, these public conversations move to private platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Signal, leaving parents in the dark.

Location sharing

BeReal shares your location by default. Parents and kids need to be aware that geo-location is enabled by default, even though it can be turned off with the location icon or by adjusting your smartphone settings.

Negative emotions

The two-minute prompt creates urgency. The limited posting timeframe can create anxiety for many kids, who feel the need to drop everything and post immediately. The app does let you post late, but it will add a note on top of the post that it was late. 

Using an app that encourages kids to drop everything to focus on social media could be dangerous, given that social media already contributes to dangerous environments, anxious emotions, and negative self-images.

dad and son looking at cell phones together on a couch

The prompt also sends the message to kids that no matter what you are doing, whether connecting with someone in person or taking a test, you should focus on the app instead before you miss your window of opportunity.

No parental controls

Parents have limited influence. Due to the simplicity of the app, there are currently no parental controls.

Is BeReal Safe?

BeReal markets itself as “not another social network.” While it does try to reduce mindless scrolling without including ads or influencers, it shares many of the same risks as other social media platforms, such as social isolation and increased distractions.

All social media platforms carry risks and, although precautions can be taken, it’s not foolproof. Talk to your kids about the Discovery page and the potential dangers hiding there. Make sure to turn off your child’s geo-location to protect their privacy. 

The Bottom Line

BeReal may appear to be safer than other apps, but that doesn’t mean kids shouldn’t be monitored. Remind your child that pictures are not accurate portrayals of life, as anyone can seem flawless for a millisecond. 

father and daughter looking at a tablet together

There are risks of being contacted by predators. Kids often share personal details unwittingly online such as a shirt with a school name or a house number. Predators are observant and can track a child using these small details.

It’s important to continue having conversations about digital citizenship and the importance of living outside the screen.

What do you think? Has your child had positive experiences on BeReal? Have you? Let us know in comments.

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